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Rourke Announces First Season at Donmar, Bruce Composes

The Donmar’s incoming artistic director Josie Rourke has announced the first three plays which will form the opening season of her tenure at the Covent Garden venue.

Rourke, who takes over from Michael Grandage on 1 January 2012, opens her inaugural season directing George Farquhar’s classic comedy The Recruiting Officer, running from 9 February to 14 April 2012.

This will be followed by a revival of Robert Holman’s Making Noise Quietly (19 April to 26 May), directed by Peter Gill; and completing the season is Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s satirical drama The Physicists (31 May to 21 July) in a new version by Jack Thorne, who worked with Rourke at the Bush Theatre.

Rourke also announced today the appointment of Anthony Weigh as associate artist, and Michael Bruce as composer in residence - the first time the venue has had such a role. Whatsonstage.com has learned he will compose scores for all main productions, as well develop his own work for performance. 

Bruce studied as a singer/songwriter at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and, since graduating, has worked as a musical director on numerous shows. In 2007 he won the first Notes for The Stage competition for up-and-coming British musical writers and in 2009 won two Whatsonstage.com-sponsored Musical Theatre Matters Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe for Ed: The Musical.

The core creative team is completed by executive producer Kate Pakenham, general manager Jo Danvers and casting and creative associate Anne McNulty.

Rourke returns to the Donmar where she trained on the company’s Resident Assistant Director Scheme in 2000 – working alongside Michael Grandage, Nicholas Hytner, Phyllida Lloyd and Sam Mendes. As a director, her work for the Donmar includes Frame 312, World Music and The Cryptogram.

She is currently artistic director of the Bush Theatre, overseeing its recent move to a former library in Shepherd’s Bush. Her directing credits for the venue include How To Curse by Ian McHugh, Tinderbox by Lucy Kirkwood and 2,000 Feet Away and Like a Fishbone by Anthony Weigh, Apologia by Alexi Kaye Campbell and If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet by Nick Payne.

Prior to joining the Bush she worked for five years as a freelance director and was associate director of Sheffield Theatres and Trainee Associate Director at the Royal Court, where she directed Crazyblackmuthafuckin’self by DeObia Oparei and Loyal Women by Gary Mitchell.

Josie Rourke said today: “These three plays present three firsts for the Donmar and open my inaugural season as the new artistic director. With Farquhar's dark and sparkling comedy, The Recruiting Officer, written in 1706, we will present a play from this era on the Donmar's stage for the first time. With Robert Holman and Peter Gill we are drawing together two of the great lyrical voices of British theatre who - astonishingly - have never worked together before.

“The variety of this work, from a classic comedy to a contemporary lyrical British drama, through to a European rediscovery in a version by one of our most exciting young playwrights both offers something new and celebrates what is rightly loved about this extraordinary theatre space.”


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